I haven't had a chance to comment on our experience at the 2011 American Royal. The weather was beautiful this year. We enjoyed sunshine for 3 straight days with temperatures in the 70's. Little to no wind made the conditions ideal for us WSM cooks.
We returned to our same spot for the fourth consecutive year and set up our gear like we always do. This year we had Myron Mixon and his entourage behind us. It was interesting watching people approach his area as if they were getting an audience with the Pope. Myron seemed gracious to everyone, stood for pictures and let each visitor kiss his ring before leaving. Okay, it wasn't his ring! Seriously, Myron is a good guy and and has a been a great ambassador for barbecue.
Friday night was the typical Royal spectacle. We spent most of the night guarding our porta-potty from being defiled by drunks and their raging cases of diarrhea. I suppose if we were to charge the drunks to use our crapper, we probably would make up our entry fee money on Friday night but it ain't worth the hassle.
The cook went well. No problems or issues. It was very relaxed for us and I thought that would be a good sign. Chicken came out great, tasted like it always does and we were able to get 8 pieces in the box. Box looked great and off it went to the judges! Ribs cooked perfect, great flavor and color. Many pieces went into the box and confidence was high as that box went off to the eaters. The Pork had great flavor like the Springfield contest and looked great in the box. So far in my mind, we are 3 for 3. Brisket was good, nice beef flavor, passed the pull test so we loaded the box with slices and burnt end cubes. Off it goes to be judged. Last up was Sausage. It cooked well too, great taste and we loaded the box. I had a good feeling about our chances of getting a call.
Time for the awards. After all the sides, etc. are announced we get to the Sausage category. Last year we were called for 6th overall. This year no call. Chicken no call. Ribs no call. Pork no call. Brisket no call! I'm thinking maybe we were just on the outside of the top 20 in at least one category but it was a cruel day for us. We end up 270th overall. Yuck! You go from Grand Champs one weekend to the dung heap the next. Such is the world of BBQ.
So we are done for the year. We'll crawl back into our cave and lick our wounds. I wish we had another contest to close out our 2011 season but scheduling won't allow it. Our plan is to amp up our cook schedule for 2012 and hopefully win another Grand and roll into the Royal ready to rumble! I'm ready to take the Invitational on next year!
Good luck to everyone cooking the Jack this weekend! Safe travels to you all!